Monday, December 13, 2010

Well, Now I Feel Better...

I made up with God today. After two-and-a-half years. It's not like I had stopped believing in Him (sorry, gender-neutral purists, I just feel more comfortable using the traditional language), or that I wasn't speaking to Him at all. It was more like I was giving him the cold shoulder, only speaking to say things like, "pass the salt" (or the theological equivalent).

About a year ago, I mentioned that I was angry with God. I thought admitting that would help me begin to work through the issues, but it really didn't. There were certainly moments when I felt God's presence and thanked Him (such as when Walter was born) and of course I prayed, both as a result of my vocation and for personal requests. But I was still keeping God on the outside (although that's pretty difficult to do, since God is omniscient and everything). My mom's cancer returning might have had something to do with my ambivalence, or maybe I was suffering from a "hard heart".

But things didn't get better. In fact, they seemed to get worse. I've felt like I've been in a fog since Nora was born, and it's gotten worse recently. I've been fairly snappish towards Harry and the kids, excessively anxious about things, and just generally depressed (and since I've been on antidepressants and ADD meds for nine years, that's something). I've been trying to figure out what to do with my vocation/family (I have to be ordained by 2015 or re-apply for provisional membership all. over. again) and wondering if I should try and be a pastor again or pursue chaplaincy full-time.

This preaching gig was probably what sent me over the edge. I'm excited, but anxious at the same time. I kept dealing with flashbacks to St. John's and struggling with those memories. I then got mad at myself that I'm still dealing with it over two years later. Shouldn't I be "over it" by now?

This morning, it was like a thunderbolt hit me out of the blue: I needed God back as more than a fair-weather friend, as more than a fixture on the mantle. So, I got home, put Walter down for his nap, and began looking for a Bible (of course, I have one on my iPhone and can access it on my laptop, but I wanted a hard copy in my hands). It took me 20 minutes to find a (non KJV) Bible, which is saying something about my level of spiritual vitality these days. Anywho, I found a Bible, opened it, and spent the next half hour or so in some QT with God. We talked, I apologized for ignoring Him, and I admitted that it's very possible that the Saint John's situation might have turned out better (or at least been less scarring for me) if I had indeed been having regular devotions/cultivating our Relationship.

It's amazing how well the rest of the day went. Nora did some of her same, annoying, three-year-old stuff, but it didn't bother me nearly as much. I was able to be patient and respond to her lovingly and (when necessary) firmly. When Harry walked through the door, I didn't feel like throwing the kids at him and running for the hills. We didn't snap at each other all evening. Finally, I'm feeling much more in control and less anxious about this preaching gig in 2 1/2 weeks. I'm still nervous, but I keep reminding myself that God has my back, and as long as I rely on His strength and not my own, I will be fine.

This probably sounds very unsophisticated and shallow, but it's heartfelt and since Harry is wanting to go to bed (the alarm goes off at 5:30am), I don't have much time.

One parting thought: all the time I was struggling, both during the SJ debacle and afterwards, not one of my clergy friends, lay Christian friends, or family members asked me, "how goes it with your soul?" Why is that? Why do we not ask each other the hard questions? True, I may have simply said, "Oh, it's fine." But, I may have been forced to look inward and make these realizations a lot sooner.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just personally, I love the phrase 'wasting time with God.' I never feel like I have the time to pray. I never feel like anything is getting done when I pray (yes, I'm a mom too). I never feel like I can point to something specific and draw a specific cause-and-effect line between my prayer time and the outcome. But I do find (as bishop temple observed) that when I pray, coincidences happen; and my day just seems to . . . untangle.

May it go well with your soul.

-- Anna